When you think of the causes of hearing loss, you probably consider both advancing age and exposure to loud noises. While these answers are correct, there’s another cause you may not know about: poor nutrition. We review the connection below.
What Does the Research Show?
According to a review of studies published in the journal Nutrients in 2019, “The incidence of [hearing loss] was increased with the lack of single micro-nutrients such as vitamins A, B, C, D and E, and zinc, magnesium, selenium, iron and iodine.” In addition, “Higher carbohydrate, fat, and cholesterol intake, or lower protein intake, by individuals corresponded to poorer hearing status.”
How Does Poor Nutrition Impact Hearing?
Nutrition impacts hearing because certain vitamins and minerals are essential for a healthy ear. For example:
- Vitamin A deficiency can increase your risk of developing a middle ear infection (otitis media).
- Vitamin B deficiency is associated with an increased risk of deafness.
- Vitamin B-12 deficiency increases your risk of noise-induced hearing loss, age-associated hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
- Vitamin D deficiency can cause bone loss as well as cause abnormal bone growth in the middle ear.
- Low protein intake can impact auditory capacity.
- Shortage of iron and iodine can also increase risk of hearing loss.
How Can I Boost My Hearing Ability?
Eating a healthy, balanced diet full of essential vitamins and minerals can boost your hearing as well as your overall health. We recommend incorporating the following foods found at Sanctuary Holistic Kitchen into your diet:
- Potassium-rich foods like bananas, spinach, potatoes, yogurt and black beans help the function of the sensory cells in the inner ear that convert soundwaves into electrical energy that is interpreted by the brain.
- Magnesium-rich foods like bananas, broccoli, almonds and brown rice help reduce the number of free radicals that damage these sensory cells.
- Zinc-rich foods like almonds, nuts, chicken and dark chocolate and reduce the severity of tinnitus.
- Omega 3 fats in fish, flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans, chia seeds and canola oil strengthen the blood vessels in the ears.
- Foods with high amounts of folic acid like dark green, leafy vegetables, beans, peanuts, sunflower seeds, fresh fruits, whole grains and seafood help regulate the blood flow to the inner ears.
For more information about hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, call Hill Country Audiology today.